Ask Your Essex Dentist – Root Extraction

Ask Your Essex Dentist – Root Extraction

A worried patient explains his fear of an unknown procedure.

When a tooth breaks, leaving just the root of the tooth in the jawbone, some patients are worried about the method that will be used to remove it and what can be done to replace the function of the natural tooth. This patient’s question is fairly typical.

Q. A few months ago, the top of my tooth snapped off. I’m not really sure why although I guess it must have been weak for some reason or another. Although it came as a bit of a shock when it happened, it broke in such a way that it didn’t cause me any discomfort and I could eat ok with it. I don’t like dental appointments at the best of times, so, fearing the worst, I just carried on as normal. Everything was fine until quite recently, when, although causing no real discomfort, I started to get a bad taste in my mouth which I found to be coming from the tooth. Something tells me that this may be decay and I will need to have it removed, but I’m really concerned about how you can do this. Is it a painful procedure?

Avoiding dental visits, whether for regular checks or when it is obvious that treatment is needed is never a good idea. I do accept though, that dental anxiety is more likely to make this happen and would like to take the opportunity to assure you that our dental team at Blue Sky Dental in Chelmsford will do all they can to help to keep you calm and relaxed as possible throughout your appointment. So what can be done to help?

Regarding your tooth; the bad taste you are getting does indicate that decay is likely present, and, although you may escape it for a while, toothache is almost inevitable if you don’t receive treatment.

Although we would have to examine you before determining the best course of action to take, it does seem likely that an extraction may be the only solution available. As you rightly point out, where only the root still exists, the procedure for extraction is somewhat different from a normal extraction where the tooth is ‘manoeuvred’ until the roots are loosened and it can simply be pulled out.

In situations like this, presuming that we can’t extract it by the usual means, you may have to see the specialist oral surgeon who is part of our Chelmsford practice team. This role requires an additional three years of training, so you can be sure that you will be in very safe hands. The actual method used may vary depending on the situation and which tooth it is. Sometimes the tooth may be cut into smaller sections for ease of removal, but sometimes, perhaps surprisingly, it can be actually an easier procedure than with a regular extraction.

Where sufficient tooth can be seen above the jawbone, a special tool can be used to just lever the tooth out gradually. This is probably more likely where a tooth root is decayed and has already started to detach from the bone. An incision may need to be made into the gum to access this area, and, in some cases, a dissolvable stitch or two may be needed afterwards, although not always. In other more complex cases, a little bone may also need to be removed first in order to perform this procedure.

Once the broken tooth and root have been removed safely, we can then discuss options to replace it, such as a strong and natural looking dental implant.

As I think you have acknowledged in your question, you realise that treatment is necessary, and rather than continue to worry about the procedure, we recommend you arrange an appointment at Blue Sky Dental so that we can take a look at the problem, and arrange a treatment plan to restore your oral health.

Please call us today on 01245 211070.

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